Part G - Data Confidentiality
ABS statistics are collected under the Census and Statistics Act, 1905. ABS seeks to publish comprehensive Government Finance Statistics based on data collected from public sector entities and central agencies across Australia. However it is required to withhold from publication any data which may, directly or by inference, reveal information supplied to the ABS about individual organisations.
Clause 2 of the Statistics Determination 1983 allows the release of statistics from the general government sector. Clause 3 of the Statistics Determination 1983 enables the ABS to release statistics in a form that may enable the identification of a business or organisation, if those statistics are already available to the public, without seeking the approval of that provider. Clause 4 of the Statistics Determination 1983 enables the ABS to release information relating to public corporations in a manner that may enable the identification of that provider where that information has been published by any official body, without seeking the consent of that official body.
Clause 5 of the Statistics Determination 1983 enables the ABS to release information relating to an organisation or official body (public corporation), in a manner that may enable the identification of that provider, where signed consent to disclose has been given by an appropriate person. Normally the aggregated nature of Government Finance Statistics means that data pertaining to an individual organisation cannot reasonably be inferred. However in some circumstances, particularly with public corporations, this may not be the case and valuable aggregate data will be suppressed by the ABS unless consent is received from organisations whose data could reasonably be revealed. Data suppression considerably reduces the usefulness of Government Finance Statistics and Australia's National Accounts. To avoid this suppression the ABS seeks consent from all public corporations in advance.
Although ABS GFS is published in aggregate form, sometimes there are events such as the sale or purchase of a government asset or particular policy decision that impact the aggregated numbers significantly. In cases where it is reasonably possible to identify an individual organisation or counter party's information in the aggregated data and where Clauses 2, 3, 4 and 5 do not apply, the relevant data cell is suppressed in the published tables, as are any other data cells that may lead to the derivation of the data contained in the suppressed cell.